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IVT Closes $5.5 Million Funding Round

IVT, a California-based company whose software media platform spans the gap between videoconferencing and synchronized rich media presentations, announced today that they have received $5.5 Million in Series B funding, led by Syncom Venture Partners with participation from Barshop Ventures.

What's interesting about the Series B round, which sees Syncom and Barshop joining with current investors Monitor Ventures and Tudor Ventures, is the intent of the funds. Despite the economic downturn, IVT says it will use this Series B funding to expand its go-to market efforts for its webcasting and online meetings platform.

"We’re building on our leadership in webcasting and rich-media communications to become a key component of business virtualization," said founder and interim CEO Greg Pulier as part of the company's press release announcing the funding.

When asked whether IVT considered itself more of an Online Video Platform (OVP), an E-CDN, or a full collaboration play the likes of WebEx, Pulier responded that IVT was closest to the WebEx category.

"We're similar to WebEx but with a focus on live and on-demand audio/video presentations, not collaborative meetings," said Pulier. "In addition, our offerings include a 'corporate YouTube' to manage and distribute the generated content. Our clients are using our offerings to make video and rich media part of much bigger programs that tie together far-flung people, business units, and partners—to train people and unify organizations globally."

I also asked about how IVT, as a software as a service (SaaS) company, positions itself alongside hardware-based synchronization tools such as Accordent or SonicFoundry's MediaSite.

"We're more competitive than complementary," said Pulier, "but we are a purely software solution, so our software can be used on any hardware with any camera as well as integrate with dedicated hardware encoding solutions like Viewcast."

Pulier said IVT—which has a global client base including IBM, NEC, Oracle and Rohm & Haas—said the investment is timely.

"We’re excited to be working with venture partners that provide strategic direction as well as capital and who can help us grow to the next level," said Pulier, who says the company is equally comfortable servicing small clients such as independent webcasting producers in the event planning, marketing communication, and audio-visual sectors.

When asked about the variation in market uptake between small business and enterprise customers, Pulier brought the discussion back around to the fact that brands are equally important regardless of company size.

"Our primary focus has been large enterprises, although it is very exciting to see the growth of our business in SMB market," said Pulier. "The need for communicating effectively to large audiences without compromising brand integrity or security along with detailed tracking seems to be universal across a wide range of industries regardless of size."

According to Frost and Sullivan report from late 2009, the hosted services segment that contains web conferencing is expected to growth at a 27 percent growth rate in 2010. Gartner, in a similar report, predicts a slightly lower compound annual growth rate of 19.5 percent for 2010 with potential equal annual growth in 2011.

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